Found 148 articles starting with I:

I hope you’ve learned to fix the chapter title…

Our chapter read: “Bring along this advice when you go to work.”But now you know that “bring” and “go” don’t comfortably fit in...

i.e., e.g.

See e.g., i.e....

icon, iconoclast - vocabulary

nounIcon: An image, picture, likeness, or representation; an enduring symbol; a person who is the object of devotion or attention. In the computer world, a graphical image or symbol on a screen th...

ideally - correct spelling

ideally - adverb  Grammar.com's section on the Parts of Speech discusses the demise of -ly adverbs. Click here for t...

idiosyncrasy - correct spelling

idiosyncrasy - noun  Example: His idiosyncrasy of stacking his coins by denomination irritated his roommate....

idiosyncrasy - vocabulary

nounA characteristic, mental quality, or habit peculiar to an individual or group. “What’s to be done? Here’s the cottage, taking one time with another, will produce, say seventy pounds a year. I think we m...

ignorance - correct spelling

ignorance - noun  Example: She tried to mask her ignorance at the meeting of scientists....

Illegal vs. Illicit

As more and more laws are written, they forbid more and more things. Luckily, English has a variety of optio...

Illicit vs. Elicit

The boss’s illicit association with his secretary elicited for a solution in order to retain the healthy...

Illusion vs. Delusion

Many words in English are confusing. They may appear similar, and they may even have related meanings. In mo...

imaginary - correct spelling

imaginary - adjective  Example: Even his imaginary friends wouldn’t play with him....

Imaginative vs. Imaginary

Imaginary and imaginative are two English adjectives that are similar enough that some writers get them conf...

imbecile - correct spelling

imbecile - noun  Example: Homer Simpson often acts like an imbecile....

Imbed vs. Embed

English is rife with words that are spelled almost the same but mean completely different things. Much less ...

imbroglio - vocabulary

nounA misunderstanding or disagreement attended by ill feeling, perplexity, or strife. In 1807, the US government implemented the Embargo Act. This decree, which closed American ports to foreign trade and p...

imitate - correct spelling

imitate - verb  Example: He often tried to imitate his younger brother....

imitation - correct spelling

imitation - noun  Example: Imitation is the highest form of flattery....

immediately - correct spelling

immediately - adverb  Grammar.com's section on the Parts of Speech discusses the demise of -ly adverbs. Click here f...

immigrant - correct spelling

immigrant - noun  Grammar.com's section on Problem Words discusses immigrate and emigrate. Click here for that discussion....

Immigrate vs. Emigrate

Alan emigrated f...

Immigrate vs. Emigrate

“Immigrate” and “emigrate” are two words that have similar meanings and can be easily confused. The differen...

immigrate, emigrate

To immigrate means “to enter a country with the intention of becoming a citizen.” To emigrate means “to leave a country with the intention of settling elsewhere.”A trick you...

immutable - vocabulary

adjectiveUnchangeable; not subject or susceptible to change. Despite the promised "new direction for America," getting the money out of politics and all of that, some facts of Washington life appear ...

impact, affect

Here’s another one of those fancy words many people misuse. Traditionally, the word impact served as a noun, but recently it has transformed into a trendy verb...

impalpable - vocabulary

adjectiveIncapable of being perceived by the sense of touch; intangible; difficult for the mind to grasp easily or readily, as in impalpable distinctions. This name [Virginia Woolf] springs to...

impecunious - vocabulary

adjectiveHaving little or no money; penniless; poor. He was an eccentric, disheveled, toothless and impecunious lifelong bachelor, an amateur poet and musician and an autodidact able t...

imperative mood

The mood of verbs shows how the speaker regards the utterance. The speaker might regard the utterance as a statement: that's the indicative mood. The speaker might ask a question: that's the interrogative mood. The speaker might iss...

imperative mood

The mood of verbs shows how the speaker regards the utterance. The speaker might regard the utterance as a statement: that's the indicative mood. The speaker might ask a question: that's the interrogative mood. The speaker might iss...

imperfect tense, progressive tense

The progressive tense (also called the progressive aspect) is sometimes referred to as the imperfect tense.There are six progressive tenses: present, past, future, present perfect, past perfect, and future perfect. Some gram...

impervious - vocabulary

adjectiveImpenetrable, as in impervious to rain; incapable of being injured or impaired, as in impervious to wear and tear; incapable of being persuaded, influenced, or affected, as in impervious...

implement - correct spelling

implement - verb and noun  Example: Congress failed to implement the new program to improve the schools. v...

implicate, implicit - vocabulary

verbImplicate: to show to be also involved, usually in an incriminating manner, as in He was implicated in the crime; to imply as a necessary circumstance, or as something to be inferred ...

Imply vs. Infer

These two words are actually quite different in their meanings and in the subject who commits the act itself...

imply, infer

Both of these words have to do with the communication of ideas through an indirect but logical process. The difference lies in who is making (or attempting to make) the logical connection.A writer or speaker implies.  ...

importune - vocabulary

verbTo beset with solicitations, to demand with urgency; to beg for something urgently. When Benedict comes to the United States, he is likely to be importuned by conservative Catholics to ...

improvident - vocabulary

adjectiveLacking foresight; incautious; neglecting to provide for future needs. In the House of Representatives late this afternoon a sensational appeal was made by Representative John J. Fitzgerald of...

impugn - vocabulary

verbTo challenge as false, cast doubt upon. “This was a great N.Y.P.D. officer who dedicated himself—put his life in harm’s way hundreds of times during his career—and you can use your own definition,” Mr. ...

impute - vocabulary

verbTo ascribe or attribute, as in She imputed special powers to the new software program. Kings are much to be pitied, who, misled by weak ministers, and deceived by wicked favour...

in receipt of

Here’s another of those expressions favored by writers of letters. Careful writers avoid it altogether and use have received.See ...

In Route vs. En Route

When languages borrow from each other, they play fast and loose with spelling rules. Sometimes, the borrowed...

inadvertent - correct spelling

inadvertent - adjective  Not inadvertant.Example: Though his mistake was inadvertent, it was also costly....

inane - vocabulary

adjectiveLacking sense, ideas, or significance; silly; empty or void. Anna made no answer. The conductor and her two fellow-passengers did not notice under her veil her panic-stricken face. She went ba...

inanimate - vocabulary

adjectiveLacking the qualities associated with living organisms; sluggish, dull. “Do you call that happiness—the ownership of human beings?” cried Miss Stackpole. “He owns his tenants, and he has thous...

incentivize, incent

These words, probably concocted in some business school, date from the 1970s. Both mean “to motivate or encourage.” Technically, they mean “to provide incentives.” The word incentivize is one of those ...

inchoate - vocabulary

adjectiveNot yet completed or fully developed; just begun, incipient; not organized, lacking order. Until an employee has earned his retirement pay, or until the time arrives when he may retire, his re...

incidental - correct spelling

incidental - adjective and noun (often plural)  Example: Though the contact was inciden...

incidentally - correct spelling

incidentally - adverb  Not incidently.Grammar.com's section on the Parts of Speech discusses the demise of -ly adverbs. ...

Incidents vs. Incidence

In formal writing situations, many writers attempt to make their writing overly technical or complex. This d...

incipient - vocabulary

adjectiveBeginning to appear or exist, in an initial stage, as in an incipient disease. [Brent] Scowcroft predicted "an incipient civil war" would grip Iraq and said the best ...

incipient, insipid

Incipient means to be at the very early stages of appearing or becoming detectable. It derives from the Latin word for “inception.” Incipient is often used to describe diseases or health conditions....

incomparable, uncomparable

The prefix ‑in in incomparable serves as an intensive. Thus, incomparable means “so good as to be beyond comparison.” The -un in uncom...

increase - correct spelling

increase - verb and noun  Example: These additional sales will increase the company’s profits. verb...

incredible - correct spelling

incredible - adjective  Example: His incredible alibi failed to convince the police....

incredulous, incredible

The word incredulous means “skeptical” or “disbelieving.”The word incredible means “implausible” or “unbelievable.” It is often used, indeed overused, to describe something ...

indefinite article

We have three articles in the English language: a, an, and the. The words a and an are the indefinite articles. The word the is the definite article.Indefin...

indefinite pronoun

Indefinite pronouns enable us to refer to any one, any two, several, or all in a group or class of persons or things or ideas. Examples include: all, another, anyone, each, someone, everybody, none, others. Some of the pronouns have possessi...

independence - correct spelling

independence - noun  Example: During college, she relished her independence from her parents....

independent - correct spelling

independent - adjective  Example: The independent prosecutor will investigate the allegations....

independent clause

A clause is a group of words with a conjugated verb in it. We have two kinds of clauses: independent and dependent. An independent clause is a complete sentence. It begins with a capital letter and ends with a period or other terminal punctuation mar...

indexes, indices

The preferred plural is indexes. Use indices when you mean “indicators.” Scientists and mathematicians, however, prefer indices in technical writing.Example...

indicative mood

First, understand this: The word mood has nothing to do with frame of mind, as in happy or sad. It actually refers to mode, which is the attribute of a verb suggesting the speaker's attitude toward the action expressed.The m...

Indices vs. Indexes

When words have more than one variant, choosing between them can be difficult. Often, there is no hard and f...

indicted - correct spelling

indicted - verb (past tense and past participle of the verb indict)  Example: The grand jury ...

indirect object

The indirect object is a person or thing secondarily affected by the action of the verb, the direct object being primarily affected. The indirect object appears in the sentence as a nou...

indispensable - correct spelling

indispensable - adjective  Not indispensible.Example: His putter was the indispensable club in his golf...

indolent - vocabulary

adjectiveLaziness; having or showing a disposition to avoid exertion or work. In pathology, causing little or no pain, as in an indolent sore slow to heal. Miss Bingley was engrossed by Mr. Da...

Indorsement vs. Endorsement

English contains many uncommon words that are only used in specific contexts. In some cases, these words may...

ineffable - vocabulary

adjectiveIncapable of being expressed or described in words, as in ineffable joy; not to be spoken because of its sacredness, unutterable, as in the ineffable name of the deity. He be...

Inequality vs. Inequity

If you’ve ever had a case of writer’s block from choosing between two very similar words in your writing, yo...

inevitable - correct spelling

inevitable - adjective  Example: With his hard work, his success became inevitable....

inexorable - vocabulary

adjectiveUnalterable, unyielding, as in an inexorable truth; unrelenting, not to be moved, persuaded, affected by entreaties or prayers, as in an inexorable bill collector. And never ...

infer, imply - vocabulary

verbInfer: to derive by reasoning, to conclude or judge from evidence or premises.Imply: to suggest or indicate a conclusion without its being explicitly stated; ...

Infinitive - The "to" Verb

Academic tomes might go on for pages defining the meaning of the infinitive form of a verb. I, on the other hand, have developed a definition requiring only a single sentence:The infinitive form of a verb is the one you would ordinari...

infinitive phrase

Every verb has a base infinitive form. We think of the infinitive as the verb with the preposition to in front of it, as in to have, to hold, to love, to honor, to cherish. Infinitive phrases can act as (1) nouns...

infinitive verb

Every verb has a base infinitive form. We think of the infinitive as the verb with the preposition to in front of it: as in to have, to hold, to love, to honor, to cherish. Infinitives appear in t...

Infinitives Showing Tense and Voice

Elsewhere I’ve stated that the conjugated verb shows four things: tense, person, number, and mood. I’ve also stated that verbal phrases like the infinitive phrase do not show tense. Well, that’s true for what’s called the simple infinitive: ...

inflammable, noninflammable, flammable

The words flammable and inflammable mean the same thing. But the prefix in- misleads many people. They assume that inflammable means “not...

Inflict vs. Afflict

If someone stabs you with a knife, did they afflict you with a wound, or inflict a wound on you? On the othe...

influence - correct spelling

influence - noun and verb  Example: The minister exerted undue influence on the parishioner to make her change her will. ...

influential - correct spelling

influential - adjective  Example: She is an influential lawmaker in the state legislature....

information - correct spelling

information - noun  Example: The attachment to the email provided the information we needed....

infuse - vocabulary

verbTo instill, introduce, or inculcate principles or qualities, as if by pouring, as in The teacher infused new life into the classroom; to inspire or imbue (usually followed by with), as in ...

ingenious - correct spelling

ingenious - adjective  Not ingenius. Not ingenuous.Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses ingenuous...

ingenuous - correct spelling

ingenuous - adjective  Not ingenious.Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses ingenuous and ingenious...

ingenuous, disingenuous - vocabulary

adjectiveIngenuous: candid, frank, or open in character or quality; characterized by an inability to mask feelings, not devious.Disingenuous: the dis-...

ingenuous, ingenious

These two words, which sound so alike, are actually nearly opposites. Ingenuous means “to be artless, simple, innocent; lacking in cunning, guile, or worldliness.” It also means “openly straightforward or frank; candid.”...

ingratiate - vocabulary

verbTo win confidence or good graces for oneself, especially through deliberate effort. “Yes, this is a monument he is setting up here,” said Anna, turning to Dolly with that sly smile of comprehension with...

inimical - vocabulary

adjectiveAdverse in effect or tendency, harmful, unfavorable; unfriendly, hostile. In other words, Mr. Dimmesdale, whose sensibility of nerve often produced the effect of spiritual intuition, would bec...

initialism, acronym

An acronym is a pronounceable name made up of a series of initial letters or parts of words; for example, UNESCO for the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.An initialism, on the other hand, is simply a ...

initiate - correct spelling

initiate - verb and noun  Example: She plans to initiate the new procedure this afternoon. verb...

innocence - correct spelling

innocence - noun  Example: Before the judge imposed the sentence, the convicted felon continued to maintain his innocence....

inoculate - correct spelling

inoculate - verb  Not innoculate.Example: The doctor wanted to inoculate the poor children in the village....

input

Many people use this trendy word to mean “participation in or contribution to an endeavor or project.” In short, they want to provide input. Careful writers, however, avoid this jargon word and restrict their use of ...

inquiry - correct spelling

inquiry - noun  Example: The panel’s official inquiry will uncover the truth....

Inquiry vs. Enquiry

There are so many words in English that are either so similar to each other in spelling and pronunciation or...

insatiable - vocabulary

adjectiveIncapable of being satisfied or appeased, as in an insatiable thirst for fine wine. Sonia said this as though in despair, wringing her hands in excitement and distress. Her pale cheek...

inscrutable - vocabulary

adjectiveIncapable of being analyzed, investigated, or scrutinized; impenetrable, not easily understood; unfathomable; mysterious, as in an inscrutable smile; incapable of being seen through, as in the in...

insidious - vocabulary

adjectiveIntended to beguile or entrap, as in an insidious plot; stealthily deceitful or treacherous, as in an insidious foe; proceeding in a seemingly harmless way but actually with dangerous effect...

insidious, invidious

Insidious is used to describe something that is subtly harmful or cunningly treacherous. Something is insidious if it lies in wait, seeks to entrap, or operates secretly or subtly so as not to arous...

Insight vs. Incite

Homophones are words that share the same pronunciation but differ in spelling and meaning, such as to, too, two; and so, sew, and sow. ...

insipid - vocabulary

adjectiveLacking interesting, stimulating, or distinctive qualities, as in an insipid, boring speaker; without a sufficient taste to be pleasing, as in an insipid meal. Kitty, to her ...

insistent - correct spelling

insistent - adjective  Example: His insistent cry attracted the attention of a passerby....

Install vs. Instill

The words instill and install are almost indistinguishable when spoken out loud, and even in writing, they a...

instead - correct spelling

instead - adverb  Example: We ordered tea instead....

instinct - correct spelling

instinct - noun  Example: Through instinct, the birds migrated south for the winter....

insurance - correct spelling

insurance - noun and adjective  Grammar.com’s section on Problem Words discusses the verb forms insure, ensure, and assure....

integrity - correct spelling

integrity - noun  Example: Everyone admired his integrity and wanted him to serve as mayor....

intellectual - correct spelling

intellectual - adjective and noun  Example: The legal field of intellectual property involves patents, trademarks, an...

intelligence - correct spelling

intelligence - noun  Example: He is blessed with high intelligence.Example: We must improve our ...

intensive pronoun

The reflexive and intensive pronouns are the “-self” words, as in myself, yourself, himself, herself, themselves, and so on. These words are used in two ways: (1) to reflect action back onto the actor in the ...

Inter vs. Intra

Did you play any sports in college? Well, if you didn’t play on the school’s football or basketball team, yo...

inter-, intra-

The meanings of these two prefixes differ significantly. The prefix -inter means “between or among.” Thus, interstate commerce is business conducted across state lines. The prefix -intra...

intercede - correct spelling

intercede - verb  Example: She wanted to intercede in the matter to save her son’s reputation....

interest - correct spelling

interest - noun and verb  Example: His interest in science led to a career in medicine. noun...

interface

Let those who delight in using fancy jargon interface with each other. But be nice when you interact with them at Starbucks.In the world of computer technology, the word interfac...

interfere - correct spelling

interfere - verb  Example: The injury won’t interfere with his work....

interference - correct spelling

interference - noun  Example: His interference in our affairs must not continue....

interjection

An interjection is one of the eight parts of speech. It is a word of surprise, as in wow, whoopie do, yikes. It rarely shows up in formal expository writing....

interpreted - correct spelling

interpreted - verb (past tense and past participle of the verb interpret)  Example: The young woman ...

interrogative mood

First, understand this: The word mood has nothing to do with frame of mind, as in happy or sad. It actually refers to mode, which is the attribute of a verb suggesting the speaker's attitude toward the action expressed.The mood of ve...

interrogative pronoun

We have various ways of asking questions in the English language. We can take a multiword verb form and put the subject between the auxiliary verb and the base infinitive, as in ...

interrupt - correct spelling

interrupt - verb  Example: This loud noise from the street will interrupt the meeting....

intransitive verb

Action verbs are either transitive or intransitive. A transitive verb has the intrinsic ability to attach directly to a noun, called the direct object. Bu...

Intransitive Verbs

Verbs Without ObjectsOur forbears noticed something else about their growing list of action verbs. Some lacked the ability to pick up a noun all by themselves. They could not earn that coveted label, noun-picker-upper...

intrepid - vocabulary

adjectiveFearless, courageous, and bold. Unchecked, the tourist will climb over the fence and come right into your house to take pictures of you in your habitat. Cities mindful of tourists have built e...

intrinsic - vocabulary

adjectiveBelonging to a thing by its nature, inherent, as in the intrinsic value of gold. And yet, beyond that, she hardly knew what he had—save of course his intrinsic qualit...

introduce - correct spelling

introduce - verb  Example: He will introduce his sister at the party....

Introducing a List

A ListUse the colon to introduce a list or a series: The committee's study focused on the most critical areas: development of software, needed ...

Introducing Quotations with the “Like” Word

I'm like ...Usually, people use tobelike to introduce quoted sources. In that form, it doesn’t harm the language too much or totally prevent thought from taking place. We can hear entire conversations, peppered with ...

Introducing Statements or Quotations

Introduce Formal StatementUse the colon to introduce a formal statement, an extract from a passage, or a speech in a dialogue: Remember the rule: A colon may be used to introduce a statement....

Introductory Adjectival Phrases

Here’s Rule 11 in Strunk & White A participial phrase at the beginning of a sentence must refer to the grammatical subject. Strunk & White, p. 13. But many people seem to ha...

invective - vocabulary

nounAn utterance intended to cast censure or reproach; vehement denunciation; an insulting word or utterance. The art of invective resembles the art of boxing. Very few fights are won with ...

inveigh - vocabulary

verbTo utter vehement censure or invective, to protest strongly (often followed by against). Senate Democrats who oppose President Bush's Iraq policy spoke today against Condoleezza Rice's nominati...

invidious - vocabulary

adjectiveCalculated to cause ill will or resentment; hateful, as in invidious remarks; offensively or unfairly injurious, as in invidious discrimination; tending to cause animosity. T...

invitation - correct spelling

invitation - noun  Example: The wedding invitation contained a typographical error....

irascible - correct spelling

irascible - adjective  Example: The irascible old man shouted at the children in the street....

irregardless

Usage panels—and other smart people—consider the use of irregardless as a huge blunder. It simply isn’t a word. Someone couldn’t figure out how to use irrespective or regardless ...

irregular verb

Verbs have four principal parts: (1) the infinitive, (2) the past, (3) the past participle, and (4) the present participle. A ...

Irregular Verbs - A List

In the English language, we have fewer than 200 irregular verbs. (A fairly complete list appears in Garner Oxford, pp. 195-97.) Below are some causing the most trouble. Remember, use the past tense for statements showing that something happe...

irrelevant - correct spelling

irrelevant - adjective  Example: The attorney objected to the irrelevant evidence....

irresistible - correct spelling

irresistible - adjective  Not irresistable.Example: The chocolate dessert was irresistible....

irritable - correct spelling

irritable - adjective  Example: The irritable store owner drove away her customers....

island - correct spelling

island - noun  Example: The plane crashed on an island in the Pacific....

isle - correct spelling

isle - noun  Example: The idyllic isle had beautiful palms on the beach....

its - correct spelling

its - possessive pronoun  Not it's.Note: The word its is the possessive form of the pronoun it. Do not confus...

its, it’s

Note: The differences between its and it’s are discussed in depth in the Common Grammatical Mistakes Section of Grammar.com. ...

itself - correct spelling

itself - reflexive pronoun and intensive pronoun  Example: The cockroach tried to protect itself...

it’s - correct spelling

it's - contraction  Not its.Note: The word it’s is a contraction of it is. Do not confuse it’s with ...

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